Turkey hunter confidence factor

Friday, April 14, 2017
Paul Brown

Many years ago, when I devoted my time to making a living in sales, a book written by Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich, was popular for putting salesmen in the right frame of mind. Another use of positive mental imagery is when Olympic athletes are in trance like thought devoted to imagining their success. More specifically, Olympic shooters spend a tremendous amount of time looking at targets-not shooting-just watching. Adding a few mental exercises to your overall turkey hunting skills can lead to increased success at those moments when the adrenaline is high as a gobbler approaches your setup.

Itís been said over and over that patience is the biggest factor in a turkey hunterís success. Thereís a lot of truth to this philosophy, but before a turkey hunter can achieve the patience of a predator, he must have confidence in several areas-calling skills, woodsmanship, shooting ability, gun performance, etc.

A little more than 20 years ago, I was hunting with Harold Knight, of call-making fame, near his house in Kentucky. We stuck with a spooked gobbler we had walked under while it was still on the roost. Through Haroldís confidence in the situation, we stuck with the bird instead of moving off to other gobbling toms. We repositioned a couple of times and Harold worked his magic. Finally, the bird marched toward me, gobbling every few steps. Moments later, a 2-ounce Remington Duplex load of Nos. 4 and 6 shot anchored the 21-pound tom.

Confidence, mostly Haroldís that day, is what put that longbeard in front of my Remington 11-87. This simple lesson is one thatís difficult to apply for most hunters. Hunters walk away from killable birds every season because their confidence is lacking.

Shooting tips

Know what a turkey looks like over the barrel of your shotgun. Youíre probably thinking this sounds over-simplified, but in practice, it will enable you to make a good shot.

In dimly lit woods while wearing a head net, squeeze one eye shut and aim your sights at a turkey head-sized target.

If your eye remains focused on the front bead or sight Ė where itís supposed to be Ė the target will be a blur.

If you make the mistake of focusing on the turkey thereís a good chance you will raise your face off the comb of the stock and shoot over the bird.

The mental exercise is learning how to focus your eyes on your sights while focusing your mind on the birdís vitals. Practice this technique at various distances before the season starts and your accuracy with a tight-choked shotgun will improve measurably.